Fri | Sep 24, 2021

Women’s 200m could be Olympics’ most competitive

Published:Friday | July 23, 2021 | 12:09 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
TOP: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (third from left) wins the women’s 200m National Championship ahead of Shericka Jackson (left) and Elaine Thompson Herah at the National Stadium on Sunday, June 27.
TOP: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (third from left) wins the women’s 200m National Championship ahead of Shericka Jackson (left) and Elaine Thompson Herah at the National Stadium on Sunday, June 27.
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In any major sporting championships there are marquee clashes for which fans eagerly anticipate a gigantic battle.

In track and field at the Tokyo Olympics, the women’s 200 metres is that event that will take centre stage.

A month ago, it was the women’s 100 metres that was seen as the race to see, but with the exclusion of American Sha’Carrie Richardson from the Games, the spotlight has now switched from to the 200 metres and expectations are very high as any number can play, with at least six athletes having a genuine chance to win the gold medals.

So at event time for three days, starting with the preliminaries at 8:30 p.m. (Jamaica time) – on Sunday, August 1 to Tuesday, August 3 at 7:50 a.m. – when the final gets under way, millions of track and field fans will be glued to their television sets as a mega battle awaits.

Five women, led by the United States’ Gabrielle Thomas, have gone sub-22 seconds so far this season. Thomas’ 21.61 seconds, clocked in winning at the United States of America (USA) Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, cemented her as the second-fastest ever female in the event.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 21.79, with her first sub-22 seconds clocking, to win at the Jamaica Track and Field Championships; countrywoman Shericka Jackson, 21.82; and the USA duo of Jenna Prandini, 21.89, and Anavia Battle, 21.95, close out this group with personal bests for all.

MORE COMPETITION

The race will not be only about those five, however, as defending Olympic champion, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson Herah, 22.02, The Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo, 22.03, Great Britain’s Dina Asher Smith, 22.06, and the Ivory Coast’s Marie Josee Ta Lou all have great chances in going all the way.

Thompson Herah, with a personal best of 21.78 in 2016, Miller-Uibo with a best of 21.74, and Asher Smith, 21.88 in 2019, have all been in that sub-22 zone and can reproduce that form.

This one will definitely be a cracker, but the world leader, Thomas, could have the advantage as she will be very fresh from competing only in the half-lap event.

Fraser-Pryce, Thompson Herah, Asher Smith and Prandini will have to go at least three rounds of the 100 metres before, while Miller-Uibo will also be competing in the 400 metres, which will have its first round the same day of the 200 metres semi-finals. It will be interesting to see who can recover best.

This one definitely looks very hard to call and a blanket finish is expected, as undoubtedly it will be the event that will attract the most attention from fans worldwide.

sports@gleanerjm.com